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LAWRENCE, KS 66044
Tales of a Greasy-Spoon is a book of entertaining
stories by French expatriate Bruno Gheerbrant. My
favorites are "A Rooster Among Dykes" and "The Rosa
Parks Thing I Hadn't Heard Of." It looks expensive
to print, so better send cash to POB 426935, San
Francisco, CA 94142-6935.
Notes From The Lighthouse Joshua writes about
hitchhiking, living in a cabin behind a friend's
house, and a 24-hour garage sale. It's good. Send
$1.25 or fun stuff to POB 165, Eureka, CA 95502.
Pathetic Life In this autobiographical zine, Doug
writes very entertainingly about the sometimes
mundane, often rather grody details of his life.
If he has a pathetic life, he sure seems to be
enjoying it. 24 Ellis St. #141, San Francisco, CA
Dwelling Portably is a great source for information
and discussion about living cheap and simple,
mostly in rural or wilderness situations. Trade
'em information about your own portable dwelling
experiences or send a dollar to POB 190, Philomath,
Well my friends, the time has come for Near Miss
#3» Like the first two issues, this one is happening
at sort of a turning point in my life. To give
everyone who's interested a brief update on my lifet
in May I moved out of Ganas and into an apartment on
the Lower East Side. I was living with Diana and a
couple roommates. That was a summer sublet, and now
Diana and I are living in her studio in Hell's Kitchen.
I had a happy, though not very productive summer.
Now the fall is bringing lots of activities. I'm
working for the NY Public Library, taking classes at
Hunter College, working on a collectively-run info-
shop project, and editing this "-.ine and another zine.
More on all this stuff later.
Now for the basic zine info. This is Near Miss
#3, printed in September 1994. You can receive a
copy of this zine by sending me a zine of your own,
a piece of artwork or writing for NM, or a friendly
letter. Plus if I like you I'll give it to you no
matter what you do. At heart this is an autoniograph-
ical zine, but I am happy to print things by other
people if they fit in well. I look for things from a
personal perspective. Everything by me in here is
anticopyright; reprint at will. Other people may
want you to ask before you reprint their stuff. I
have copies of the first two issues if anyone wants 'em,
Please send all zine correspondence toi
Brendan POB l804 NYC 10009
Thanks for reading!
Even though she requested not to be mentioned,
I can't print a zine that's supposedly about my life
and thoughts and such without talking about the most
important person in my life.
Diana and I met in the Greyhound bus station in
St. Louis in the summer of 1993. We sat together on
the bus from St. Louis to Indianapolis j it was five
hours and we talked the whole way. Maybe it wasn't
love at first sight, but it was something ; by the time
the bus rolled into Indianapolis, we were holding
hands. After that trin, we wrote to each other and
talked on the phone a lot. She was living in
Washington D.C. and I had just moved to New York.
We spent a few weekends together, and then jumped to
her moving up to NYC and us living together.
We've spent the whole summer together, seeing
each other every day, and it's been wonderful. I'm
in love. Diana's a creative dreamer, a cosmic
anarchist, and an angel. She's very much in touch with
love, beauty, and the spiritual world. She's
beautiful herself, and she's fun . She likes adventure,
risk, and wild sex. She's also a caring, giving
person who, like me, has faith in the human spirit.
We have similar goals for t»e future, and I hope
we're together in the future to carry them out.
Diana and I are building trust in our relation-
ship, so maybe this public declaration will create
some confidence. I love you, Diana.
The Trouble With Andre is a charming little book of
stories and pictures from Cara. Her favorite letter
is D, and she dreams of someday being a British guy
named Nigel. Send her a nice letter at 69^3 N.
Ridge, Chicago, IL 606V5.
Budzine Bud's another person who, like me, is
mysteriously driven to document his life and make
it available to others. He tells us of a disappoint-
ing trip to the circus, and paying his taxes. Send
Bud a dollar or a zine in trade at 3201 E 24 St.,
Tucson, AZ 85713-2204.
The Firefly is a sweetheart zine with an edge. It
combines radical political pieces exposing our
government's terrorism with fun kids' drawings and
family-type stories. Write to them at Box 133, Angle
Inlet, MN 56711.
Scam has a great review section, in which Mark reviews
the disease/affliction asthma, the loquat tree and
fruit, and Boone's Wine. My issue included a free
postcard. Send a photo of your mom or something
else to 5101 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006.
Gogglebox Jenn creates one of the finest zines in
zineland (but she hasn't written to me lately, grr).
If you love roadtrip stories as much as I do, and
appreciate good writin' on other topics too, get in
touch with Jenn G. Box, POB 250402, Columbia Stn.
First Person prints stories from various folks on a
certain theme. Issue #1 is Body Parts, and has
gruesome tales with titles like "The Bloody Stump."
Submit or send $2.00 to Tracey West, POB 4l6,
S parkill, NY 10976.
A H0IH6 Need Not Be A HOUSe
by Julie Summers
An establishment think-tank would have had
difficulty coining r a more misleading 1ah*1 than
"hom*l**s." But I doubt that was the source. More
likelv, some reporter happened to use it. and
it caught on, because H provides:
* a scapegoat for law enforcers to blame crime on;
* a scapegoat for public health agencies to blame
* an excuse to hire more bureaucrats to administer
the "homeless problem" ;
* a red herring to cover m the real problem, which
is h^ch cost« nf housing, due largely to government
* a term to disparage unconventional dwellinsrways.
(In a mild climate, a cardboard shack or even a
sleeping: bag may provide adequate shelter and be
a comfortable home- To say th« occupants are
"homeless" is a put-down and a lie. created to
help justify evicting them.)
Who are the "homeless"? The term has been applied
willy nilly to a wide variety of people who may have
little more in common than unstylish appearance or
behavior. Thus, I feel unstylish is a more truthful
Sometimes I live with little more for shelter than
a sleeping bag. I resent being called "homeless" i
my camp is my home — and I don't feel deficient, as the
less in homeless might imply.
"Take a lesson from the snail, which
everywhere doth roam carrying its own house
still, still it is at home: be thine own
palace or the world's thy jail."
Or, as I overheard a young woman say, "I have no home;
but I'm at home wherever I am."
This is not 'o deny that there are people without
comfortable shelters. However, respectors of self-
determination will not pass pronouncements on others,
but will leave it up to each individual to say whether
he has a home.
My Trip to
This summer I went up to Aloany with my buddy Ed.
I saw the Factsheet Five archives and did other fun
stuff, and then rode my bicycle from Albany to New York,
camping out along the way.
The first day or so in Albany, I met some of Ed's
friends and saw some of Albany and Troy, Then Ed was
driving back to NYC and I couldn't stay with his friend
anymore, so after he dropped me off, I started looking
for a place to crash. I considered sleeping indoors,
but I couldn't find a hostel, and didn't want to shell
out the cash for a motel room, so I ended up camping
out. Albany has a big plaza downtown with all the
museums and such, and I slept in a little park adjacent
to that. I didn't even have to set up my tent, just
curled up in my blanket on the grass. It was fun to
camp out right under the noses of all the big state
The next day was my big day at the Factsheet Five
archives. In case you live in a cave, F5 is a
gigantic guide to amateur publications like this one,
(send $6 (worth it) to F5, POB 170099. San Francisco,
CA 9*+ 117-0099) F£ was the first non-mainstream thing
I was ever exposed to, living with my parents in
suburban Florida. Mike Gunderloy was the editor then,
and when he got burnt out a few years ago (after
publishing F^ for a decade let us sing songs of praise),
he donated all the zines he had kept, and assorted
other FJ> documents to thp NY state library. That's what
I went to see. It was a great experience. I got to
see a bunch of early issues of F£ itself, and some old
lost issues of my high school underground newspaper,
and other neat old zines. Now that these zines are
part of an archive, they are handled like the treasures
they are. I was told, "Please do not lean on the
documents," and, "Please use pencil for your notes.
You may make a stray pen mark on a zine." That was
nice, and funnyi I'm sure the editors themselves never
handled their publications that carefully. One
drawback is that you can't go look through the zines
yourself; you have to have a librarian bring certain
publications out to you. But I still heartily
recommend the archives to ardent zine fans and small
I spent one more night in Albany and then headed
back to the Big Apple — by bike. I must have been a
hilarious si^ht. It had gotten unexpectedly cold in
Albany, so I hit a thrift store for a goofy-looking
but warm shirt and long pants (which I had to make a
rope belt for) ; I had my tent and bedroll tied to my
rear rack, along with plastic saddlebags. And of
course it rained the first day, so add to that picture
a giant poncho blob and morp sunermarket bags covering
my gear. I may have looked goofy, but I had a great
time. I spent two days and two nights on the road, and
I would ride almost all day, stopping to check out the
towns and the awesome views of the Hudson. Then at
night I would just find a clearing near highway 9,
spread out my blanket, and collapse. I saw some
beautiful country and got really high on bike riding.
My bike made it just fine; I finally got a flat tire
at 1^5 St. in Manhattan, where I could just hop on the
train, go home, and recover.
I am now editor of Meander Quarterly , "newsletter
of evolutionary anarchists." The editorship is
supposed to rotate annually, so I volunteered for a
year. I think evolutionary anarchism is a pretty
good description of my political philosophy, and I
wanted to get back in touch wi'h radical politics.
If anyone's interested in reading MQ, my first issue
will be out November 1, and I have some back issues.
Just write to me to get a copy, and include a small
donation if you can afford it.
(I try to take care of, fix, and make things myself.
To learn T read how-to books that experts have written--
cheaper than buying their time on a one-to-one, face-
to-face basis). Meat every day (once in a while is
enough). B acon 'n' eggs (I don't buy bacon because
of additives and I use eggs only when I get a yen for
them). Desserts (perhaps once a month; candy even less
often). Expensive 10-speed (I push my second-hand
3-speed (or 1-speed) when the going gets steep). State-
of-the-art knapsack (mine is a simple home-made).
If there is something you think you absolutely
must have, consider that there are probably millions of
people in the world who routinely get along without it.
OPENING OCTOBER 15 1
Well, I'm back in the radical bookstore
"business." Blackout is a group of fun-lovin'
anarchists who've been selling radical ix>litical
publications at events and on the street for about a
year. Diana and I got involved a couple of months
ago, and at just the right time, as the project is
exploding into action. We're opening a bookstore/
info-shop on the Lower East Side in October. (For
you New Yorkers: it's 50 Avenue B between 3 a ^d 4
Streets) I'm very excited about the project; it's
similar to what I dreamed of doing in Phoenix, but I
didn't have the know-how, and Phoenix didn't have the
support. But New York is full of people and
organizations just waiting for something like this.
And the project is run by a collective, so there is
a lot of potential for the store to accomplish a lot
and for many other projects to grow out of it. The
group is great to work with, and the store is going
to be a huge success. Come on out and see us!
For the toaster, blender, chain-saw, and electric
toothbrush it's simple — since I don't have any. But I
do have a bicycle, sewing machine and typewriter to
contend with. I learned bike mechanics primarily
through books and how to service my sewing machine by
reading the owner's manual. I approach typewriter
repair on a trial and error basis.
Taking care of my own body is a more complex matter.
My first line of defense is preventative medicine, but
even so, sometimes I get sick or have an accident.
Learning what to do when that happens, without recourse
to exorbitantly priced doctors, has been difficult.
Some books have helped i Where There Is N o Doctor , David
Werner, Hesperian Foundation, POB 1^92, Palo Alto, CA
9^302; Being Your Own Wilderness Doc tor, Angier and
Kodet; Medicine for Mountaineering ; The Merck Manual ;
Wilderness Medicine; William Forgey.
Because my way of living does minimal un-creating,
re-creating isn't called for. Or putting it another
way, my everyday activities are my recreation: making
bread, walking in the woods to fetch water, picking
berries, bicycling, making clothes, writing, reading.
I tried a daily 30-minute meditation period.
Although free, it didn't do anything for me so I gave
it up. I think the reason it was a flop is because
I already meditate practically all the time. I'm
constantly reflecting about what I experience. I think
that's important if one wishes to live economically;
otherwise it's easy to get caught up in someone else's
Oven (I bake on top of my woo l stove in a foil-covered
pan) . TV. Newspapers . Shampoo (I use bar soap for
hair as well as body). Toothpa ste (I use water and
elbow grease — along with mv brush. A little dental
pumice every few p.onths removes stains). Deodorant
(washing suffices). Pa .jamas . Aspirin (and other
palliative drugs). Supermarke ts (of the myriad items,
I purchase only meat, eggs, cheese, and produce — if
there's no better place to buy them). P rofessionals
Over the years since I escaped from suburbia,
I've been moving further and further away from
consumerism and consumer culture, and it's a relief
and a wonder to think of all the garbage I've left
behind. Part of it is physical garbage: I've gotten
rid of a huge amount of material possessions that were
weighing me down; and another part is mental garbage:
I really don't miss TV and all those movies at all,
and it frees up time and brain space for actual living.
It's amazing what insane creatures we Americans really
are. We convince ourselves that we need all the
unnecessary things we see advertised, and 'hen we must
throw away 'K) hours a week of our lives to pay for it.
So I'm checking out of the machine as much as I
can, by getting ^id of my garbage, and by experimenting
with alternative housing. When our sublet was up,
Diana and I couldn't stand the idea of hitting the
regular apartment market and giving away our money just
to live. And, we didn't have any money, so we got
creative. Diana's in the M.F.A. program at Hunter,
and she gets a studio space, which is now our living
space. It's not really allowed, but the authorities
look the other way. It's presented some challenges,
since there's no kitchen or shower (a hot plate and
trips to the locker room at Hunter solve that), but
it's free , and that means less of our time is wasted at
some job making rent money.
Of course, I'm nowhere near the simple life that
is my ideal, but I'm learning. I've gotten a lot of
inspiration from Julie Summers, who wrote the articles
Julie also writes for Dwelling Portably (reviewed
in the back). You can write to her at their address.
by Julie Summers
One way to get wealthy is to make lots of money.
Another, often overlooked approach is to live abundantly
on little. If you think Thoreau was able to do that
at Walden but .hat it's out of the question in today's
world, consider this: from 1977-1982 I averaged $576
per year. And in 1992, though inflation has steadily
pushed up prices, I've learned to be even more
economical, thus I still spend less than $600 a year.
(I don't get food stamps or welfare either.) I live
comfortably, not longing for anything more money could
buy. (in fact I'd spend more if there were things
available that I thought would make my life better.)
I live in beautiful, peaceful surroundings,
without smog, noise, hustle or bustle. I eat well. My
health is good. My time is mostly my own, since I need
devote little of it to earning money.
I do not live as I do because of a religion. Nor
am I an ascetic, fugitive, or primitivist. I live as I
do because after trying various other ways (all more
expensive and prov'ding less leisure) I find my present
situation gives me the most satisfaction. I'm not out
to set a record for living on little money; it just
happens that what I've found to be the most congenial
is at the same time very economical.
My diet is based on grains and pulses (the edible seeds
of plants having pods—peas, beans, lentils, etc.)
bought minimally processed, in bulk — often 30-100 pound
sacks — from wholesalers: wheat, rice, millet, corn,
beans, and lentils. Also alfal'a, sesame, and
sunflower seeds; nuts; and dried fruit. Because of
perishability I buy baking yeast and oil in smaller
amounts (by the gallon) at natural food stores.
I try not to be attached to any particular food.
When one shoots up in price, I cut down, substitute, or
simply do without. E.g., when raisins were extremely
high I used dates, which were less expensive. When rice
was many times the price of other grains I eliminated
it. Cheese is so expensive that it's now in my
luxury category and I buy it infrequently.
To increase the nutritional content of my fare I
sprout alfalfa and other seeds. I also buy fresh fruits
and vegetables that are currently low in price, such as
carrots and oranges. I buy eggs when I crave them— I
may go months without any. I use meat very irregularly,
perhaps on the average of once a week.
I do some foraging; mostly for berries and greens,
occasionally for a squirrel.
I seldom eat out. That must save a bundle* But
it's not simply a question of money: the food most
restaurants serve (often reheated, highly seasoned, and
doused with chemicals) is not what I want to eat. Also
I don't care for the waiter- patron relationship, and I
don't like having to worry about my table manners.
From 1977-' 82 Iaveraged about $297 a year for food.
My partner and I live in an old trailer. Admittedly
small, it's still adequate since all we want to do is
live in it, not use it as a status symbol. It keeps
us dry, it's easy to heat, easy to clean, and everything
is within easy reach. It's also mobile so we can
change scenerv without much trouble.
We usually live in sub-rural, woodsv areas,
trading a few hours of work a month for camping
I don't wear any — when I can get away with it. For .,
nasty weather, armed berry bushes, and intolerant
people, I cover up. Free-boxes, second hand outlets,
or home industry provide most of my garments. They
may not be highly fashionable but they serve the
I don't have a car. I walk, ride a bike, hitch, or
take the bus. (To move the trailer I borrow a vehicle.)